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“Help! My cat ignores me!” Don’t worry, you’re not alone...

Cat with it's back turned
(Image credit: Getty)

“My cat ignores me!” is a common cry from fans of felines, but if your cat looks the other way whenever you call their name, don’t despair! It’s simply in their nature.  

A study published by the University of Tokyo suggests that cats actually DO ignore their owners. In fact, cats were aware their names were being called because they displayed signs of listening behavior such as looking around or twitching eyes. But despite hearing their owner’s voice, they quickly lost interest and continued with what they were doing. Charming!

In the experiment, felines were tested in their own homes while their reactions were being monitored. The owner would then leave the room while their cat wasn’t looking. Researchers played three voice recordings of strangers calling out the cat’s name. This would then be followed by the owner calling its name, then one last stranger’s voice. 

While cats responded to the voices, they showed a bigger response to their owners calling, with head and tail movements. But despite the recognition of their owner's voice, they still did not move or attempt to come over. So why is this?

Experts believe it could be that cats never evolved to form domestic relationships with their owners like dogs do. “Historically speaking, cats, unlike dogs, have not been domesticated to obey humans’ orders,” says the author of the study, “Rather, they seem to take the initiative in human-cat interaction.”  

The good thing is, kitties are playful and the importance of cat play is the perfect opportunity to bond with their owners, and keep healthy and happy. There is also endless fun to be had with the best cat toys to keep them amused and fit. 

So next time you’re thinking, ‘my cat ignores me’ when you call them, don’t take it personally!